Gold Corp. (TSX:ABX) sharply improve the company’s Q1 bottom line – Dominion Lending Centres Clearlease

Gold Corp. (TSX:ABX) sharply improve the company's Q1 bottom line - Dominion Lending Centres Clearlease

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA – (April 27, 2011) Clearlease Reports Surging gold prices helped Barrick Gold Corp. (TSX:ABX) sharply improve the company’s first-quarter bottom line, but the chairman of the giant gold miner on Wednesday was touting its decision to make a big expansion into copper.

Barrick would be foolish to follow other companies that refuse to change, Peter Munk told the company’s annual meeting in Toronto, adding that copper would provide the cash flow it needs to grow.

Already the world’s largest gold miner, Barrick made a bold move into the copper sector Monday with a friendly $7.3-billion bid to acquire Canadian-Australian miner Equinox Minerals Ltd. (TSX:EQN), in a deal that would double its annual production.

With the world supply of available gold mines wearing thin, the deal allows Barrick to expand into a metal that is selling at near record prices. On Tuesday, copper closed up three cents at US$4.33 a pound.

The company has been riding high on the price of gold, which is topping record highs nearly every day, although it closed down $10.20 at US$1,498.90 per ounce on Tuesday.

But since the Equinox bid on Monday, the stock has backed off sharply from above $53 and was down an additional 15 cents at $47.60 in morning trading Wednesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Toronto-based Barrick, which reports in U.S. dollars, said earnings in the period ended March 31 rose 22 per cent to US$1 billion, or $1 per share, compared with US$820 million, or 82 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenues increased to US$3.09 billion from US$2.58 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had predicted an average of $1.04 earnings per share in the first quarter.

The results reflected “higher realized prices for both gold and copper and better than expected total gold cash costs,” Barrick said in a news release.

Gold production of 1.96 million ounces at total cash costs of US$437 per ounce and net cash costs of US$308 per ounce was ahead of plan primarily as a result of higher production from the company’s Cortez, Goldstrike and Veladero mines.

Meanwhile, Barrick said it was on track to meet its 2011 guidance of 7.6 million to eight million ounces at total cash costs of US$450-$480 per ounce, or net cash costs of US$340-$380 per ounce, “positioning Barrick as one of the lowest cost senior gold producers.”

During the quarter, Barrick was allowed to transport ore from its Cortez Hills mine in Nevada after an environmental review was approved. The mine had been operating on a restricted basis under an injunction since last April.

The Cortez property is expected to produce between 1.30 and 1.45 million ounces in 2011, much higher than its original guidance of between 1.08 million and 1.12 million ounces of gold this year.

Barrick owns and operates gold mines in Canada, the U.S., Peru, Argentina, Chile, Australia and Papua New Guinea and employs about 20,000 people around the world.

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